Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

Summer vacation is perhaps the most hallowed and beloved of traditions for kids.

But it's not all fun and games.

While they're going to the beach and the swimming pool and the campground, students tend to forget some of what they learned during the previous school year.

We're not suggesting summer vacation be canceled.

But we're awfully glad Baker students have the option of REAL - the Read Everyday And Learn program.

It's been around since 2010, but this is just the second year that REAL has extended from the school year into summer vacation.

The 10-week program, thanks to a grant from the Ford Family Foundation, runs through Aug. 21.

Students not only read aloud to volunteers, they also work with flash cards, practice phonics and strive to memorize frequently used words.

Jim Tomlinson, the program's coordinator, said school officials plan to compare students' literacy test scores from last spring to this fall as a gauge of REAL's value.

But we already see one sign of the program's success - attendance this summer has nearly doubled from last, with an average of about 20 students for each of the four weekly sessions.

Those kids are enjoying their vacation, no doubt. But they're also still learning.